x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Labour of love to bring nation's prosperity to those who build it

Dozens of the capital's blue-collar workers have a library, receive packs of everyday essentials and attend English-language courses, thanks to Labor of Love UAE.

Ms Wesley founded Labor of Love UAE in November last year to provide a sustainable project that involved interacting with labourers.
Ms Wesley founded Labor of Love UAE in November last year to provide a sustainable project that involved interacting with labourers.

Dozens of the capital's blue-collar workers have a library, receive packs of everyday essentials and attend English-language courses, thanks to Labor of Love UAE.

"All the initiatives we do mean a lot to the people in the camps," said Angel Wesley, 33, an American lawyer for a private company in Abu Dhabi, who runs the charity.

"It's not just for the thing itself but mainly for the fact that people are thinking about them."

Ms Wesley, who has lived in the capital since 2010, said the idea of setting up a charity came after a visit to a men's labour camp near her home in Ramadan last year.

While dropping off some dates as a gift she saw their living conditions. She went home and cooked a chicken dish to feed the workers at iftar.

"I thought about how everyone becomes particularly active during Ramadan," she said. "But for the rest of the year we mostly ignore the workers, conveniently given that we all enjoy the benefit of their hard labour."

Ms Wesley founded Labor of Love UAE in November last year to provide a sustainable project that involved interacting with labourers.

The aim of the charity is to raise the workers' standard of living with assistance, providing goods such as bedding and toiletries, as well as social programmes and health education.

"They feel invisible here and are far away from their families and friends," she said.

"They work long hours and often feel isolated because of cultural and language differences."

Thirumeni Dhamodaran, 36, an employee welfare executive at the construction contractor ETA-Ascon in Abu Dhabi, and a volunteer with the charity, said: "Labor of Love UAE has been doing many good initiatives for the labourers who work hard to build this nation."

The group teamed up with the Society for Emirates Voluntary Activities to provide English classes for workers in labour camps, and built a library one of the camps this month.

Labor of Love UAE plans to set up a library for women working for MBM, a maintenance company, in December.

MBM employs 110 women to work as cleaning staff and office assistants.

The group also plans to conduct pest treatment at the women's accommodations, install a second cooker and provide outdoor games such as badminton.

A breast cancer awareness lecture is scheduled.

Niroja Kolle, 29, a supervisor at MBM for five years, thanked the charity for its donations and for spending time with the women.

"Everyone is happy when they come to see us," she said.

Contact the charity at laborofloveuae@hotmail.com or www.facebook.com/laborofloveUAE.

rruiz@thenational.ae